Taking Complexity Seriously

Policy Analysis, Triangulation and Sustainable Development

  • Emery┬áRoe

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Analyzing Policy Issues of High Uncertainty and Complexity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
  3. The Sustainable Development Controversy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Emery Roe
      Pages 23-27
  4. A Case of Sustainable Development

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 117-117
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 137-138

About this book


Taking Complexity Seriously applies the advanced policy analysis technique of triangulation to what is now the world's most complex public policy challenge: sustainable development.
One central problem of public policy analysis has been to find new ways of analyzing issues of increasing complexity and uncertainty. Triangulation is perhaps the best example of these novel techniques, as it uses various methods, databases, theories, and approaches to converge on what to do about the complex issue in question.
Taking Complexity Seriously uses four different theoretical approaches (Girardian economics, cultural theory, critical theory, and the local justice framework) to triangulation in order to converge on answers to four major policy questions:
  • What is sustainable development?
  • Why is it an issue?
  • What needs to be done?
  • What can actually be done?

These four approaches are used to analyze the sustainable development controversy that recently arose in the pages of Science magazine and the journal Ecological Applications. These different approaches prove highly potent in defamiliarizing conventional wisdom about sustainable development. Ultimately the different approaches will converge on novel answers to the four questions. The practical implications of these conclusions are drawn out at the end of Taking Complexity Seriously in a detailed case study of ecosystem management.


development ecosystem sustainable development

Authors and affiliations

  • Emery┬áRoe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Bibliographic information